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Expert House Movers – a Lean ballet.

I’ve probably read 50% of everything that has ever been written on Lean (of that, probably 98% is in English, you just don’t realise how lucky you are to be both Lean advocates and readers of the English language – is it a surprise that Lean thinking is slower to catch on elsewhere?).

Anyway, of the 98% of the 50%, the vast majority comes up with common themes. Womack and Jones’ five principles. The importance of ‘Respect for People’. The key role of management.The contribution of the people.  How Lean is a journey, not a destination. Etc etc.

One other common observation is that ‘Lean is not easy’. It doesn’t happen overnight. It needs courage, burns calories, loses sleep, and damages marraiges (OK, maybe not the latter, but I imagine that there must be odd occurrences).

So we all agree, Lean is not easy. Don’t we?

Well, have you ever tried to move a mansion house?

I have just watched an amazing programme on Expert House Movers. These are people who plan for months and work for weeks (no, I didn’t get that the wrong way around) to move large buildings, and in this case a typical townhouse from 1906, a few hundred yards to make place for other construction (in this case, a hospital extension). Respect, respect. OK, there may be other engineering feats far more impressive and strenuous, but they haven’t passed on French TV yet, and this one simply took my breath away.

Basically, they drill holes into the foundations, insert massive metal beams, lift the whole building upwards, insert wheels… and then roll it along. Fascinating. Check out the videos on the Expert House Movers site.

The one thing that got me on this programme was that everybody concerned was serein and calm, knew exactly what they needed to do, immediately stopped everything should there be the slightest problem or risk… and they all seemed to be smiling.

And this stuff is probably five thousand times more difficult than implementing Kanbans and performing Ishakawa analyses. So the next time you are a little down in the dumps because the Lean projects are not progressing as planned, slip on a Expert House Movers video.

These people have Lean culture fine-tuned down to an art.

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